News Release

Key measures highlighted as ASEAN gears toward post-pandemic recovery

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his remarks during the plenary session of the virtual 38th and 39th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits and Related Summits hosted by Brunei Darussalam at the Malacañang Palace on October 26, 2021. ARMAN BAYLON/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Recognizing that the road to recovery from the pandemic will be long and arduous, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte spelled out Tuesday measures that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can take to tackle the current crisis and move toward recovery.

In his intervention during his virtual participation to the 38th ASEAN Summit, President Duterte urged the ASEAN Secretariat to expedite vaccine procurement through the COVID-19 Response Fund.

“If there are still available funds, then we should purchase more,” he said. “We must also have our own regional vaccine research and production facilities for us to be ready for future public health emergencies.”

“We must ensure the phased and comprehensive implementation of the broad strategies under the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.”

Also, the President highlighted the need for the immediate establishment of the ASEAN Centre on Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases after a year of conceptualizing.

The ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework must be operationalized to revitalize the regional bloc’s economy, he said.

“As we have said before, an open multilateral trading system and a clear roadmap are vital to economic recovery,” the President noted.

Toward this end, he reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) within the year.

As the pandemic exacerbates inequalities within societies, the Philippine leader said the ASEAN must address the unique needs of vulnerable groups, particularly women, children, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and migrant workers.

The ASEAN Consensus on the Promotion and Protections of the Rights of Migrant Workers should be implemented, he said, underscoring migrant workers’ contributions to nation-building and to the socio-economic development.

“We have to treat them with dignity and respect,” the Filipino president said.

The ASEAN Comprehensive Framework on Care Economy, the Declaration on the Importance of the Family for Community Development and Nation Building and the Declaration on the Elimination of Bullying of Children in ASEAN are also steps in the right direction, according to the President.

He also tackled climate change, stressing its long-term and adverse effects particularly to the future generations.

The regional grouping, he said, could speak with one voice in the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow through the ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change.

At the same time, the President urged his fellow leaders to continuously support the efforts of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity to conserve, protect and advocate for the sustainable use of biodiversity.

This includes the center’s mapping of zoonoses in the region to prepare against future public health emergencies. PND